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Safety Planning with Adolescents

The intention of safety planning with adolescents is the same as for pre-school and elementary school-aged children. They should get away from the dangerous situation and avoid injury. This may be problematic for teenagers who may feel that because they are almost adults that they should intervene by threatening or “taking on” the abuser. Stress to adolescents that the best thing to do is to seek help. 

Assist them in mapping out an action plan to ensure their own and younger siblings’ safety. Begin by exploring what they currently do when abuse is occurring in their home. Based on this information, you can determine how appropriate the existing plan is, what revisions it needs, and how it can be improved.

Brainstorm places where he/she could go or call in the event of violence in the home. Make sure that the young person is familiar with the use of 9-1-1, and emphasize that s/he should seek an area away from the violence if they need to place a call for help. Familiarize the young person with the community resources available to them regarding domestic violence.

Above all, continue to emphasize that the best and the most important thing they can do is not to be the defender, but to get out of the way and seek help.